Proverbs 1:1-33 . After the title the writer defines the design and nature of the instructions of the book. He paternally invites attention to those instructions and warns his readers against the enticements of the wicked. In a beautiful personification, wisdom is then introduced in a most solemn and impressive manner, publicly inviting men to receive its teachings, warning those who reject, and encouraging those who accept, the proffered instructions.
2. To know . . . instruction--literally, "for knowing," that is, such is the design of these writings.
wisdom--or the use of the best means for the best ends, is generally employed in this book for true piety.
instruction--discipline, by which men are trained.
to perceive--literally, "for perceiving," the design (as above)
understanding--that is, words which enable one to discern good and evil.
3. To receive . . . of wisdom--For receiving that discipline which discretion imparts. The Hebrew for "wisdom" differs from that of Proverbs 1:2 , and denotes rather discreet counsel. Compare the opposite traits of the fool ( Proverbs 16:22 ).
justice . . . equity--all the attributes of one upright in all his relations to God and man.
4. simple--one easily led to good or evil; so the parallel.
young man--one inexperienced.
subtilty--or prudence ( Proverbs 3:21 , 5:21 ).
discretion--literally, "device," both qualities, either good or bad, according to their use. Here good, as they imply wariness by which to escape evil and find good.
5, 6. Such writings the wise, who pursue right ends by right means, will value.
learning--not the act, but matter of it.
wise counsels--or the art and principles of governing.
7. The fear of the Lord--the principle of true piety (compare Proverbs 2:5 , Proverbs 14:26 Proverbs 14:27 , Job 28:28 , Psalms 34:11 , 111:10 , Acts 9:31 ).
beginning--first part, foundation.
fools--the stupid and indifferent to God's character and government; hence the wicked.
8. My son--This paternal form denotes a tender regard for the reader. Filial sentiments rank next to piety towards God, and ensure most distinguished rewards (compare Proverbs 6:20 , Ephesians 6:2 Ephesians 6:3 ).
10-19. A solemn warning against temptation.
entice--literally, "open the way."
consent . . . not--Sin is in consenting or yielding to temptation, not in being tempted.
11-14. Murder and robbery are given as specific illustrations.
lay wait . . . lurk privily--express an effort and hope for successful concealment.
swallow . . . grave--utterly destroy the victim and traces of the crime ( Numbers 16:33 , Psalms 55:15 ). Abundant rewards of villainy are promised as the fruits of this easy and safe course.
17-19. Men warned ought to escape danger as birds instinctively avoid visibly spread nets. But stupid sinners rush to their own ruin ( Psalms 9:16 ), and, greedy of gain, succeed in the very schemes which destroy them ( 1 Timothy 6:10 ), not only failing to catch others, but procuring their own destruction.
20-33. Some interpreters regard this address as the language of the Son of God under the name of Wisdom (compare Luke 11:49 ). Others think that wisdom, as the divine attribute specially employed in acts of counsel and admonition, is here personified, and represents God. In either case the address is a most solemn and divine admonition, whose matter and spirit are eminently evangelical and impressive
Wisdom--literally, "Wisdoms," the plural used either because of the unusual sense, or as indicative of the great excellency of wisdom (compare Proverbs 9:1 ).
streets--or most public places, not secretly.
21. The publicity further indicated by terms designating places of most common resort.
22. simple ones--(Compare Proverbs 1:4 ).
scorners--( Psalms 1:1 )--who despise, as well as reject, truth.
fools--Though a different word is used from that of Proverbs 1:7 , yet it is of the same meaning.
23. reproof--implying conviction deserving it (compare John 16:8 , Margin).
pour out--abundantly impart.
my spirit--whether of wisdom personified, or of Christ, a divine agent.
25. set at naught--rejected as of no value.
would none of--literally, "were not willing or inclined to it."
26, 27. In their extreme distress He will not only refuse help, but aggravate it by derision.
27. fear--the object of it.
desolation--literally, "a tumultuous noise," denoting their utter confusion.
destruction--or calamity ( Proverbs 1:26 ) compared to a whirlwind, as to fatal rapidity.
distress--( Psalms 4:1 , 44:11 ).
anguish--a state of inextricable oppression, the deepest despair.
28. Now no prayers or most diligent seeking will avail ( Proverbs 8:17 ).
29, 30. The sinner's infatuated rejection brings his ruin.
33. dwell safely--literally, "in confidence" ( Deuteronomy 12:10 ).
be quiet--or at ease, in real prosperity.
from fear--without fear.